MobiTV, one of the more established mobile TV companies in the market today with deals in place with several major U.S. mobile operators, today revealed a significant deal to grow out its business in Europe: a deal with Deutsche Telekom (NYSE: DT), one of Europe’s biggest operators, to develop a multiscreen IPTV platform.
Under the terms of the deal, Deutsche Telekom will work with the California-based MobiTV to develop an integrated video service for its customers that will work across mobile phones, tablets, PCs, connected TVs and set-top boxes.
It will be based on MobiTV’s TV Everywhere product, which provides a seamless digital TV experience, letting a user, for example, start watching a program on one device and continue watching it on another. That’s an area where many other device makers and operators are likely to be making moves in the year ahead — an idea being fuelled by all the speculation around Apple (NSDQ: AAPL) and Google (NSDQ: GOOG) making moves in TV.
The companies say the deal announced today is the progression of a trial the two had already been working on for multiscreen services in Germany, and comes at a time when many players, from device makers to other pay-TV operators, are all looking at similar, multiscreen offerings.
It falls short, however, of some of the more innovative services we are increasingly starting to see: today’s offering from Samsung for a large selection of content across its multi-device Media Hub plus gesture control. And France Telecom, for example, recently announced a deal with Microsoft (NSDQ: MSFT) to link up its IPTV service with its Kinect box for motion control and other kinds of interactivity.
France Telecom (NYSE: FTE), it should be noted, is more ahead in the TV game than most: it has been offering a kind of multiscreen service for some time now.
What a service like MobiTV and Deutsche Telekom’s could offer, potentially, is something that could work across multiple, multi-platform devices that are not vendor-specific.
TV Everywhere, announced formally by MobiTV last October, had been in the works for some time before then (it was demonstrated to me almost a year ago during the 2011 Mobile World Congress in Barcelona).
MobiTV, which filed for a $75 million IPO last September, has made other moves to enter the European market before with less success: it inked an early-stage — probably too early — deal with France Telecom’s Orange to offer mobile TV in the UK, but that deal ended in 2007 with no further big developments, until now.